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Thursday, August 24, 2017

95 is Not 100

By the time I realized that I wanted to see a total solar eclipse, everything was sold out. Even finding approved eclipse glasses turned out to be super difficult. Luckily, I got those in the nick of time. And I consoled myself by saying: It'll still be cool. Atlanta is going to have 95% eclipse. That's close enough to 100%.

I took eclipse day off from work, put an alarm on my phone for maximum eclipse time, and on the afternoon in question, I brought a card table, chair, and laptop onto the front porch. My plan was to keep an eye on the eclipse and write a little while I was waiting.

BTW, no writing was accomplished until after the eclipse.

I soon figured out that my camera was not going to handle the sun, so I taped an extra pair of eclipse glasses over the lens on the phone.  This is what 20-25% eclipse looked like through the filter of the glasses.

The right hand side was where the eclipse was. I don't know what happened to the left side in the picture, but it was there to see with the naked eye.

Sadly, my glasses over the lens trick failed as we approached our maximum coverage. The camera just registered red from the glasses and no sun. Oh, well, I thought. At least at 95% I should get a halfway decent shot. I was thinking of all those partial pictures I'd been seeing and totally forgetting to factor in the special camera lenses those photographers had no doubt been using.

As my max coverage approached, I took my chair off the porch and onto the front sidewalk. And then I tried to take pictures again. Looking at the results, I can see why the experts had been warning people not to look at the sun without special glasses on. This picture (below) is 95%, and you'd never know it.

Looks like the full sun, doesn't it? You'd never know that only the tiniest of crescents was visible at this moment.

I'd expected twilight levels of light. Didn't happen. The crickets did come out for a while and start chirping away. The light was odd, not quiet what you'd see when it was cloudy, but impossible to describe in any other way. Maybe if you imagined the light traveling through an odd filter.

I'm not sure if you can see how odd the light is in this shot or not, but there we are.

The experience was way cool and I enjoyed the hell out of it, but ultimately it was disappointing. Do you think hotels are taking reservations yet for 2024?